Assemblyman Steve Stern Announces the Blue Alert System to Apprehend Dangerous Criminals

Legislation modeled after national Blue Alert Act named in honor of NYPD officers who were killed in the line of duty

Mineola, NY – New York State Assemblyman Steve Stern joined with elected leaders and members of state and local law enforcement to announce the implementation of the Blue Alert System to aid in the apprehension of suspects of killing or seriously injuring a law enforcement officer. The bi-partisan legislation was unanimously approved by the State Legislature.

“I was proud to sponsor and pass this critically important legislation in support of the brave men and women of law enforcement who sacrifice so much to keep our neighborhoods safe,” said New York State Assemblyman Steve Stern. “The Blue Alert System has a proven track record of success nationwide and its implementation is long overdue in New York State. This initiative will help protect our community, protect our officers and save lives.”

“We have a very concerted effort in Nassau and Suffolk counties to make sure we have the safest communities in the United States,” said Nassau County Executive Bruce A. Blakeman. “The ‘Blue Alert’ system is another tool in the toolbox for our law enforcement and homeland security personnel and I thank Assemblyman Steve Stern for his leadership on this legislation.”

“Every day our police officers leave their homes and families to protect our communities not knowing what potential dangers lie ahead,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “They put their lives on the line for the good of others and it is critical that we do everything we can to support them. I would like to thank Assemblyman Steve Stern for helping to push forward this important legislation allowing New York to become one of the dozens of states that are already using this critical alert system.”

Based upon the success of the Amber Alert for missing children and the Silver Alert for missing vulnerable adults, the Blue Alert System will help apprehend violent criminals who kill or seriously injure local, state, or federal law enforcement officers. Currently, thirty-seven states have implemented the Blue Alert System, including our neighboring states of New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont.

The system is modeled after the “Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015,” a nationwide alert system named in honor of two New York City police officers who were killed in the line of duty on December 20, 2014, while on patrol in Brooklyn. It later became known that their assailant made credible threats against law enforcement on social media prior to travelling to New York to commit these murders.

“In 2022, law enforcement officers in Nassau County seized 356 guns,” said Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly. “Each one of those guns is capable of ending a life, and each one of those guns was taken off the street by a brave officer who placed himself or herself in the line of danger. Police officers have a special role in our society, and they’re prepared to face danger at any moment. We owe it to them to always have their backs. Amber Alerts and Silver Alerts have saved countless lives in this country, and now, using that technology, we can catch dangerous criminals who have assaulted police officers. I thank Assemblyman Steve Stern and the other members of the legislature who supported this important bill.”

“I am proud to stand with my law enforcement partners in support of this worthwhile legislation,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney. “Police Officers go to work every day facing the risk of physical danger or death, selflessly confronting that peril to allow us the chance to live in peace. An attack against our first responders is an attack against our society and we must take every measure possible to help ensure the safety of our police.”

“Our men and women in uniform are out on the front lines every day risking their lives to keep us safe,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr. “Putting out alerts for violent criminals who commit heinous crimes against law enforcement protects the public at large. Thank you to Assemblyman Stern and all our law enforcement partners for getting the Blue Alert system activated, which will undoubtedly enhance public safety throughout New York State.”

“While our department is supported by members of the community, there are some with no regard for the law or the responsibilities of police officers,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney K. Harrison. “The Blue Alert System will assist law enforcement in the apprehension of dangerous felons who have taken the life of or seriously injured an officer and will make sure they are held accountable. I would like to thank Assemblyman Stern for sponsoring this bill as it’s a win for law enforcement across the state.”

The legislation provides that a Blue Alert may be requested by any law enforcement agency in New York State if the agency believes that the public dissemination of information may help avert further harm or accelerate apprehension of the suspect. The alert may be issued on a regional or statewide basis in coordination with the New York State Department of Transportation as well as public television and radio broadcaster organizations. Information provided pursuant to a Blue Alert may include, but shall not be limited to, a detailed description of the suspect’s vehicle or license plate number and the name of the law enforcement agency that requested the alert.

“The Blue Alert system was designed to be a nationwide system to alert law enforcement to the killing, serious wounding, or credible threats to law enforcement by violent offenders,” said Richard Wells, President of the Police Conference of New York (PCNY). “It was established by the United States Congress in 2015, in response to the December 2014 ambush killing of two New York City Police Officers and named in their honor as the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act. New York State has finally joined those other states that have signed on to the system. The PCNY, as the largest police organization in the state, representing more than 50,000 police officers, applauds the tenacious efforts of the sponsors, Assemblyman Steve Stern and former Senator Todd Kaminsky, for shepherding this bill through New York’s legislature, and thanks Governor Hochul for signing it into law.”

“With 59 officers killed in the line of duty in the first nine months of 2021, and more than 60,000 assaults on officers in 2020, law enforcement is a more dangerous career than ever before,” said James McCartney, President of the PBA of New York State. “Blue Alert legislation recently passed under Assemblyman Stern’s leadership will help law enforcement agencies better respond to attacks against officers and apprehend violent criminals before they can go on to harm the public.”

“Police officers across this country are working in an environment that is more difficult and dangerous than any in recent memory,” said Patrick J. Lynch, President of the New York City Police Benevolent Association. “We need to have every tool at our disposal to ensure that those who attack police officers are swiftly brought to justice. We thank the bipartisan group of lawmakers who honored our fallen brothers’ memory by enacting this legislation, so that we can safely carry on protecting all New Yorkers.”

In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission integrated Blue Alerts into the Emergency Alert System and the Wireless Emergency Alert System. This integration makes it possible for participating states and law enforcement agencies to share information across state lines and warn citizens of neighboring states if an offender is headed in their direction.

“Someone willing to harm a police officer is a danger to everyone and we need to make sure the public receives the most current information in the quickest way possible - not only help us get these violent criminals off the streets, but also to keep themselves out of harm's way,” said Tommy Shevlin, President of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association. “This Blue Alert system will help us do exactly that, providing one more critically important tool to keep New Yorkers safe. This has been a priority of the Nassau PBA for more than a decade and we thank Assembly Member Stern, his colleagues on both sides of the aisle and Governor Hochul for making this a reality.”

“This technology has been proven effective in getting information to New Yorkers quickly and efficiently and we’re grateful that it will now be utilized to apprehend perpetrators who commit aggressive and violent acts against law enforcement,” said Noel DiGerolamo, President of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association. “Our members risk their lives every day and we thank members of the Assembly and Senate for working collaboratively to make this critically important tool available.”

“Policing is an inherently dangerous profession,” said Daniel Fitzpatrick, President of the Suffolk County Detectives Association. “Law enforcement officers respond to calls for service never knowing that the outcome will be. Unfortunately, some of those calls result in our officers being seriously injured or killed by violent individuals who act outside the norms of civilized society. The passage of the Blue Alert System, much like the Amber Alert System for missing children, now provides a means to speed up the apprehension of these violent criminals. The Suffolk County Detectives Association would like to thank Assemblyman Steve Stern and Senator Todd Kaminsky, not only for sponsoring this legislation, but for all their efforts in assuring its unanimous passage.”

“Public alert systems have proven to be a valuable tool used by law enforcement in the recovery of missing persons, so it is only commonsense to expand the use of that technology to aid in the apprehension of violent individuals who kill or wound those tasked with protecting our community,” said New York State Assemblyman Michael Reilly, a retired New York City Police Department Lieutenant. “I am pleased to see this law go into effect today and I commend the sponsors for making this a priority in the first place.”

A total of 331 law enforcement officers were shot across the country in 2022, a 6% increase from 2020, according to the National Fraternal Order of Police. Of officers who were shot in the line of duty, 62 were killed, up 32% from 2020. In New York City, 10 officers were shot in 2022, and two were killed, according to NYPD statistics.